Boulder people don’t just sit around. People around here have something they look forward to after work or on the weekends; these activities fall into two categories: Boulder Hobbies and Normal Hobbies. You’ll see what that means later.
Either way, this is a guide to help you find what you need to get going on your favorite activity or to try out something new for the first time.
Thanks to the rise of online stores, Boulder had a close call with losing its beloved Neptune Mountaineering this past year. Neptune is famous around town for knowledgeable staff, great selection and climbing gear for everyone from beginners to the Everest-bound. At any gym in town, it’s a safe bet about half those climbers got their gear at Neptune.
As a bonus, there’s Rock & Resole, where you can get your climbing shoes repaired on the occasions when you’re not quite ready to part with some old friends.
Bikers in Boulder face an embarrassment of riches. Sometimes it feels like there are as many bike stores in town as there are bikers, but whether you’re just visiting or a longtime resident, University Bikes works for everyone. You can find bikes of all kinds and levels, but also every bit of clothing, gear and tools you need. Plus, the outdoor vending machine has extra tubes, tire levers and more for those random weekend emergencies.
For a biking bonus, check out Vecchio’s. The bikes there aren’t generally for beginners, but it’s an old-school shop that can really teach you what’s great about biking. Plus, you might spot a pro or two getting a tuneup there.
Boulder Ski Deals. No other shop in Boulder is as accessible, with a combination of selection and values. The annual sales aren’t to be missed, especially for people just trying to get into the sport, and it’s a one-stop shop for all your gear needs.
Other must-stop spots are Larry’s Bootfitting, where the masters can keep you comfortable for whole weekends on the mountain, and Alpine Base & Edge, which can tune your skis to perfection.
Boulder Running Company can get you set up. The key to a running store is employees who know how to find your fit. The wrong running shoes can really wreak havoc on your feet, ankles, knees, hips and back. The pros here can help you find the shoe that’s right for you, from road to trail.
Mike’s Camera can handle almost anything you throw at it, from odd film choices to specifically-sized developing. Additionally, it either stocks or can order in camera gear for the beginner to the pros.
For visitors or hobbyists looking to try some new gear, another great option is Pro Photo Rental on Conestoga. As a rental shop, you can try out new lenses and more for special projects or experiments and then bring them right back.
There are two ways to go with music. For the record collectors, both Bart’s Record Shop and Absolute Vinyl are must-visits. Between those two and Albums on the Hill, you can find just about any record imaginable, plus a bunch you can’t imagine but will definitely love.
On the other side, for the musicians, there are two fantastic guitar shops in town: Boulder Guitars on Pearl and HB Woodsongs on 30th. Woodsongs also has a lutherie across the street for repairs, and it’s the best around. For everyone else, catch your lessons through Harmony House. Some of the best musicians in town give lessons here.
You’d think the spot for crafts would be Michael’s, but it’s definitely McGuckin Hardware. Honestly, just go in and wander around. Plan on being there for a while, because you can find a bunch of new hobbies in that place, too. It seems like some peoples’ hobby is wandering around McGuckin, actually.
There’s a knitting store in Boulder. If you needed any more clarification that Boulder loved supporting hobbies and activities, Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins should clear that up. It carries all the equipment and yarns for weaving, spinning and knitting. Plus, it hosts classes for all of the above.
Meininger, right in the heart of University Hill, can’t be beat for art supplies. Right next to Freaky’s Tattoo (you don’t have to do both) off 13th Street, you can get canvases, paints, all kinds of pencils, markers, charcoal and any other supplies you need, all in one place. Even if you’re not terribly artistic, the supply of pens is great. Because who doesn’t love a good-feeling pen? But most importantly, the staff members know what they’re talking about and can help you find what you need.
Really, it doesn’t matter what you’re into. Boulder can get you set up, not only with the gear and equipment you need, but also with a community to get out there and hobby to your heart’s content.